A surreal exchange saw a Muslim activist with extremist connections accuse gay rights activists of “Islamophobia” to their faces on live TV because they campaigned against Islamist extremists who want to see all LGBT people murdered.
Activists Peter Thatchell, a veteran human rights campaigner, and Jimmy Bangash, of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), were interviewed on Russia Today after protesting against the sharia-mandated death penalty for homosexuality and the treatment of gays by Muslim extremists worldwide.
What made the interview so bizarre is the allegations of bigotry made by Mohammed Shafiq, CEO of the Ramadhan Foundation, an organization with extremist links. It had on its advisory board a man named Dr. Abdullah Quick, who previously called for the death penalty for homosexuals and who called Jews “filth.” Quick later apologized for calling for the death of gays (a statement allegedly made in 2000). Now says he is a changed man.
“They’re a rampant Islamophobic organization! They are responsible for promoting hate against Muslims,” Shafiq ranted against the CEMB. “You’ve adopted the narrative of the far-right and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
Shafiq also led a campaign to oust counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz from the Liberal Democrat party after Nawaz wore a t-shirt with a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed saying “hi” to each other on it.
Despite his own extremist links, Shafiq accused veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Thatchell of being “deeply misguided” for supporting the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, which Shafiq says “has made it mission to demonize Islam.”
“The Council of Ex-Muslims has never criticized or condemned Muslim people,” Thatchell said. “It has only condemned and criticized Islamist extremists who advocate hatred and violence against LBGT people.”
Bangash marched with CEMB in this year’s gay pride parade in London. They carried banners against Islamic homophobia and placards with slogans such as “Allah is gay.”
As Hanna, another participant in the march, told Clarion Project at the time:
“In a world where homosexuality is a capital offence in 14 states, which are all under the Islamic rule (if you include ISIS-held territory), where Chechnya’s Islamist leader continues his repulsive purge of gay men and the first British Muslim to publicly announce that he has entered into a same sex marriage has received acid attack threats, our aim was to highlight and denounce these doctrines and the practices that stem from them as directly as possible and demand real change.”
Following the protest, the East London Mosque filed a complaint against CEMB for “inciting hatred,” since CEMB pointed out their long documented history of homophobia.
Although Shafiq claimed in the TV segment he stood for gay rights, he dodged a question about his religious stance on homosexuality and went on the attack, saying ex-Muslims should stop “constantly obsessing about Islam.”
Bangash hit back saying he was part of the Pakistani community and has no interest in creating hate against Muslims but that he is fully entitled to campaign for gay rights and against extremism.
He slammed as an “absurd notion” the idea that “when people leave Islam and become ex-Muslims that they should stop talking about Islam.”
He noted “there are so many countries in the world of Muslim majority countries that actually legislate against ex-Muslims and they either promote our death or promote our imprisonment.”
Therefore, “asking us to not speak out in support of gay people across the globe in Muslim majority countries is also ridiculous,” he said.
This made Shafiq’s insulting quip that Bangash should “get a life” all the more galling, since that is literally what Bangash is asking for.
“We were marching against Islamist narratives that call for the death of gay people,” Bangash said.
Watch the full interview: